(TEL AVIV/LONDON) — Israel has seen a 55 percent increase in HIV infection rates among gay men there since 2005 according to the country’s Health Ministry figures while the latest numbers in the UK report HIV rates among gay men have continued to rise there as well.
In a report from the Independent, a British daily, that cited research from the Health Protection Agency and the University College London, the number of UK men who’ve had sex with men without condoms has risen 26 percent between 1990 and 2010.
The latest research, published in the Plos One journal, also showed that the number of infections would have been 68 percent worse without the use of anti-retroviral drugs in the same period and 400 percent greater if gay and bi men had stopped using condoms altogether from 2000 onward. New diagnoses among gay men in the UK reached an all-time high in 2011 with 3,010 men testing positive, the Independent reported.
The numbers are much lower in Israel, according to a report from Haaretz, a daily Tel Aviv-based newspaper, but still represent an increase. Citing Health Ministry numbers, Haaretz, reported 150 new HIV cases among gay men there in 2011.
The increase, Haaretz reported, has led the Health Ministry to conduct periodic surveys of sexual habits among gay men there. In a 2010 survey of 2,000 men, 20 percent reported they had had anal sex without a condom in the past six months. About 25 percent reported using recreational drugs.
Researchers in the UK said effective HIV treatment has made it “less visible” than it was pre-1996. One researcher told the Independent that gay men still use condoms “most of the time” and that 80,000 more cases would have occurred had condom use stopped entirely there.